Despite not making a decent movie in decades, veteran filmmaker John Carpenter’s influence is creeping back into your local multiplex. As well as releasing his debut album last month (at 67) the grand old man of horror is all over two particular releases in the past year.
Late last summer, The Guest arrived and it was something of a cult smash. Using Carpenter’s gift for synth scores and genre hopping, director Adam Wingard churned out a very effective B-movie.
Picking up the baton with It Follows is David Robert Mitchell who, again employs Carpenter-esque DIY, ominous synths but this time plays it more or less straight up with a story of STDs or Sexually Transmitted Demons in the suburbs, all very Halloween!
The premise may be daft as a brush but It Follows carries some real menace and there is every chance you will check over you shoulder on leaving the cinema.
The one element that ties the two movies together, besides the influence of JC is Maika Monroe as the female lead. The newcomer holds the screen like a natural with a winning blend of smarts, toughness and teenage angst.
If you enjoyed those two, you could do a lot worse than go back to the source and check out one or all of Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York and of course Big Trouble in Little China.
It Follows is on general release.
One of the most welcome developments for Dublin movie lovers in recent years has been the growth of specialised movie screenings. From bona fide classics to ‘so bad they’re good’ favourites to cult movies and sing alongs, programmers seem to have gotten the message loud and clear; the public wants greater diversity.
Starting next Thursday, Rathmines Omniplex in association with Newstalk brings back its classic movie screenings, starting with Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic Rear Window. This cool, sexy thriller is one of the signature movies of the 1950s and well worth a view on the big screen, 50s clobber optional!
This year’s crop is particularly strong on the early, star-making performances of Grace Kelly (Rear Window) Shirley MacLaine (The Apartment) Pacino (Dog Day Afternoon) DeNiro (The Deer Hunter) Brando (On The Waterfront) and Newman (The Hustler).
And It’s particularly satisfying to find Billy Wilder’s little seen classic Ace In The Hole on the list; along with Spartacus, a cracking double for Kirk Douglas fans.
On The Waterfront
Dog Day Afternoon
The Deer Hunter
Ace In The Hole
The Guns Of Navarone
The field of biopics and historical dramas is littered with the corpses of bloated, self important bores like Ali, Ray and The Aviator. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find Selma such an engaging, powerful piece of work. But what does this film get right that so many others of its genre do not? Quite a lot as it turns out. Most importantly, Ava DuVernay’s version of the Civil Rights struggle for voting rights in Alabama in 1965 focuses, laser-like on that particular issue and does not purport to be the life story of Martin Luther King.
This gives the film an exciting momentum as we get to familiarise ourselves with some of the complexities involved, unlike for example ‘Ali’ where many huge moments in American history are briefly touched upon in a few minutes of screen time. The promotion of secondary characters is also a welcome trait of Selma, we get to see the leadership of the Civil Rights movement, aside from Dr King all have brief but meaningful moments in the spotlight. These range from John Lewis to Andrew Young to King’s wife Coretta and there’s even a welcome, key cameo from Malcolm X.
Again, unlike many of its peers, the storytelling in Selma is lean and efficient and although the screenplay is in many cases a by the numbers re-telling of the story, its ability to engage remains constant. One note of controversy has been the excellent portrayal by Tom Wilkinson of Lyndon Johnson, many LBJ acolytes have criticised the film for seeming to suggest that he was not exactly on the same page as Martin Luther King about the importance of voting rights for black citizens. Be that as it may, it’s refreshing to see a white character in this kind of film not ride to the rescue of the oppressed minority a la the Blind Side, anyway Johnson is no out and out villain like George Wallace (Tim Roth, excellent) rather a shrewd, cautious operator with his heart possibly in the right place.
The real aces in the pack though are the the performances which are terrific, each and every one, but special praise has to go to David Oyelowo as MLK. The British actor does a phenomenal job in the big and small moments, conveying the fears, hopes and dreams of a complex man who knew an early grave beckoned, its Oscar worthy . Selma doesn’t over egg the pudding but rather hums along with a quiet authority and manages to be both exciting and insightful, a must.
Click to listen
Public Service Broadcasting – Gagarin
The link for the show
1 Mew – Satellites
Click here to listen https://www.mixcloud.com/revolverondsfm/230115/
1 Thumpers – Unkinder
2 Chvrches – Dead Air
3 Panda Bear – Mr Noah
4 Genesis – I know what I like
5 Dev Hynes – Palo Alto
6 John Southworth – Ode to the Morning sky
7 Natalie Prass – Bird of Prey
8 Viet Cong – Continental Shelf
9 America – You can do Magic
10 Arctic Monkeys – Who the fuck are Arctic Monkeys?
11 The Charlatans – So oh
12 Sleator Kinney – Surface Envy
13 Jape – Seance of Light
14 Dimman – Sigmal
15 Portishead – All Mine
16 The Replacements – Can’t Hardly Wait
17 Oh Wonder – The Rain